The Rest Is Silence: Ouroboros

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In Ouroboros, an indie mini-series produced by Utica-based writer and artist Mike Peckham, one of the most often used and arguably vital narrative devices common to comic books goes missing: the internal monologue.

Peckham’s is not the only comic I’ve ever read to eschew the internal monologue, but it’s the first one that I’ve read where its absence was so obviously daring.

Ouroboros is a story about memory and time travel, though trying to sum up the plot in simple terms like that doesn’t really do it justice. Peckham’s weird, heady sci-fi is as complex and strange as a David Lynch movie. He boldly hurls his reader into the middle of a twisted world blind, bewildered, and as off-balance as his aloof lead, a man called Gabriel.

To the absence of the internal monologue: I suspect Peckham didn’t let his reader into Gabriel’s mind because Gabriel, himself, wouldn’t allow it. He’s not that sort of character. He’s stand-offish. His walls are up all the time. Interestingly, Peckham’s decision to shut the reader out of Gabriel’s mind – which risks alienating his audience – arguably pulls readers closer to his reluctant protagonist. As Gabriel’s journey unfolds in its chaotic zigzag, we are always right beside him, off-balance with him. We are just as confused yet determined to solve his puzzle with him.

Peckham’s is not the only comic I’ve ever read to eschew the internal monologue, but it’s the first one that I’ve read where its absence was so obviously daring.

I claimed it was daring, and Peckham’s choice to omit the common device of internal monologue shocks like a dare. It’s a dare to the reader: Venture into the unknown without the promise of answers or the promise of any sort of resolution. Peckham dares anyone who picks up Ouroboros to jump in unprepared, and come out enlightened.

You should take the plunge. Read Ouroboros.

You can explore more of Mike Peckham’s brilliant work at his website. Located at: http://www.mrpeckham.com/

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